Cool down this summer with our favourite varieties of hard seltzer. Hard seltzer, or alcoholic sparkling water, is the newest drink trend taking the UK by storm. Light and effervescent, these drinks are delicately flavoured with subtle sweetness.
Hard seltzer is usually lower in calories than more traditional options like beer or canned cocktails. Many brands are gluten-free and are around 4-5% ABV. They’ll be a firm favourite for events like picnics, camping and festivals. Seltzer is a great portable option as most cans are compact and easy to recycle.
Overall, we loved how refreshing these were on a hot summer day. They are an ideal option for those who don’t enjoy overly sweet cocktails – their mild flavours make them very drinkable.
But it does take some getting used to, we found some flavours were artificial tasting or not present at all. We taste tested a variety of brands and found very enjoyable options – see our favourites below.
The best UK hard seltzers
Whisp – cucumber & mint (250ml), 4% ABV
What could be more refreshing on a warm summer's afternoon than cooling cucumber and mint? Coming in at just 63 calories, this drink is very light and super-drinkable. The cucumber flavour is natural, while the subtle notes of mint are incredibly fresh. We also enjoy the raspberry & elderflower version, which is a bit sweeter and full of summer flavours.
DRTY – white citrus (330ml), 4% ABV
The boldest flavour by far, we absolutely love the white citrus hard seltzer from DRTY. Made from a fruit wine base, the floral grapefruit flavour is well-balanced with sweetness and acidity. It has a pleasant aftertaste and long flavour resides on the tongue. It’s tart and zingy, but not too sharp. We also enjoy the raspberry rosé, which has a subtle perfume. Both options are very easy to drink and super-refreshing.
Ride – black cherry (330ml), 4% ABV
Celebrate the flavour of fresh, tart cherries with this hard seltzer from Ride. We find the flavour to be distinct but not overpowering. For a more tropical vibe, we also enjoy the mango and passion fruit flavour, which is well-balanced with a hint of sweetness. Ride offers classic flavours for the perfect all-rounder.
East London Liquor Co – pomegranate & vodka (250ml), 4% ABV
Crack open a can of this refreshing pomegranate & vodka seltzer from East London Liquor Co for a crisp summer drink. The high-quality British wheat vodka is smooth and subtle. The pomegranate, made with natural fruit extracts and essences, is zingy and fruity. The boozy kick is perfectly balanced with sparking water gentle flavours.
Berczy – lemon & lime (250ml), 4% ABV
The lemon & lime flavour from Berczy is a fantastic all-rounder with a zingy, citrussy kick. The flavour profile is very smooth and well-balanced. It tastes very natural and we find it to be the ideal level of sweetness. Very drinkable and refreshing on a warm day.
Gerry’s – passion fruit & lime (330ml), 5% ABV
Gerry's caters to a wide range of tastes, with six hard seltzer flavours. Our favourite of the bunch is the passionfruit & lime with vodka base, which is full of zesty citrus flavour. There's a slight bitterness to the passion fruit flavour, which will suit those who prefer a less sweet drink. We also enjoy the bright strawberry & kiwi version made with gin.
Keepr’s – pear & ginger (250ml), 4.2% ABV
Celebrate British honey with these refreshing hard seltzers from Keepr's. We love the slightly sweet poached pear flavour with a spicy ginger kick. The drinks are made with copper-distilled, small-batch craft vodka and light sparkling water. We also enjoy the pomegranate & rose version, balancing fruity flavour with delicate florals.
Available from British Honey (£27 for 12 cans)
Fountain – passion fruit (335ml), 5% ABV
Fountain offers a wide variety of hard seltzer flavours, from blueberry to watermelon, so there's something here for everyone. Our personal favourite is the passion fruit option, which tastes very natural and fresh. The sweetness is just right, with no artificial sweeteners or added sugars. We also really enjoy the mango version, which is full of tropical, summery flavours.
Chase – pink grapefruit & pomelo (250ml), 5% ABV
For a more unique take on hard seltzer, try the pink grapefruit & pomelo flavour from Chase. Instead of vodka or grain alcohol, Chase’s seltzer range is made with its classic gin. It tastes much more upscale and a lot closer to a mixed cocktail. Our favourite option is the pink grapefruit & pomelo because of its sophisticated blend of citrus flavours. This would be a great option for cocktail pros.
High Water – lemon & elderflower (250ml), 5% ABV
These perfectly refreshing seltzers are a light alternative to summer cups. Made from vodka, Cotswolds spring water and all-natural flavourings, these top-notch ingredients result in a well-balanced drink. We love the elderflower & lemon version, delicately infused with zingy citrus and floral flavours.
Served – raspberry (250ml), 4% ABV
For those who prefer fruity flavours in their drinks, the raspberry option from Served will be just right. The raspberry flavour is distinctive and tastes natural. It’s tart and sweet without being overpowering. While the flavour profile is on the simpler side, we find it to be really enjoyable, especially for those who may be new to the world of hard seltzer.
Bodega Bay – elderflower, lemon & mint (250ml), 4% ABV
One of our top favourites, Bodega Bay has perfectly captured the delicate flavour of elderflower with zingy notes of citrus and cooling mint. This is definitely one of the sweeter options, with a strong flavour profile. It’s perfect for fans of elderflower cordial. We also really enjoy the warming kick of Bodega Bay’s apple, ginger & açai flavour. Overall, it’s a sophisticated drink with sweet, punchy flavours.
White Claw – natural lime (330ml), 4.5% ABV
White Claw is the original seltzer brand that took over the US market. We are happy to find the hype does not disappoint. The natural lime flavour is clean tasting, refreshing and softly carbonated. There’s no unpleasant aftertaste to wade through – a rarity in the world of hard seltzers. It makes for easy drinking, and we keep reaching back for more. We also really enjoy the black cherry flavour, which is a tad sweeter but not sickly.
Long Shot Drinks – strawberry & rhubarb (250ml), 4% ABV
Made with a blend of natural strawberry and rhubarb juice, the hard seltzer from Long Shot Drinks tastes very fresh, with no artificialness. The fruity, tart flavours are perfect for summer day drinking on a long afternoon. The profile is mild but very enjoyable. We’d recommend this one for those who prefer fruity drinks. The seltzer comes in attractive packaging, which a great bonus.
Arrow Town – red berries (330ml), 5% ABV
Fans of fruity cocktails will enjoy this red berry hard seltzer from Arrow Town. It's combined fruit-based alcohol, sparkling water and natural flavourings for a refreshing finish. The strawberry and raspberry flavours are very distinct, and we can even detect a slight peppery note. It's a great low-sugar drink that’s vegan and gluten-free, too.
Smirnoff – orange & grapefruit (250ml), 4.7% ABV
The strongest option on our list, the orange & grapefruit hard seltzer from Smirnoff delivers a boozy kick that's uncharacteristic of most seltzers. This one is on the sweeter side, with strong citrus flavours, and very fragrant. It’s smooth with no lasting aftertaste. As it’s the most affordable option we tried, it’s a great value for a standard hard seltzer.
Two Brooks – Passion Star (250ml), 4% ABV
This hard seltzer from Two Brooks is a mellow and well-balanced drink with floral and fruity flavours. We enjoy the tropical passion fruit notes and find it light but flavourful. Two Brooks’ range of products is made with an alcohol base from British apples. If you enjoy a classic passion fruit martini, this may be up your street.
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This review was last updated in May 2021. If you have any questions or suggestions for future reviews, or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at email@example.com. For information on alcohol guidelines, read our guide to drinking responsibly.